Valley Medical Center’s Cancer Services department is an active community participant, providing education and screening events for healthy living throughout the hospital district. It’s been quite a year!
In collaboration with GLOW, Valley’s free women’s health and wellness membership program, Cancer Services hosted two Mammo Mixers offering evening screening mammography appointments. It was important for us to connect with the busy women in the community who are unable to get screening mammograms performed during traditional business hours. I am pleased to share that 24 screening mammograms were performed, and seven patients were noted to be more than three years since prior scan.
Know Your Lemons
Thanks to worldwidebreastcancer.org we educated women about the signs of breast cancer in a new way–through ingenious lemon visuals. Our tabling event offered self-breast exam cards, emphasizing the importance of monthly breast checks. Four screening mammograms were scheduled during this event. Additionally, we offered an integrative tool to screen for patients at high-risk for developing breast cancer due to personal/family history. Of the 18 people who participated with the screening tool, nine people were identified as high risk. Of the nine identified, eight were interested in genetics consult.
Lung Screening Program
Using our electronic medical record, we created an alert to identify patients that are at high risk of developing lung cancer. Since implementation of the alert in March 2018, the number of lung screening exams at Valley Medical Center has increased 300 percent. This technology allowed us to identify three people in the community with lung cancer who otherwise had no symptoms; catching the disease early before progression.
Our Shine-a-Light on Lung Cancer event allowed us to identify two patients at high-risk of developing lung cancer who did not have the financial means to proceed with screening. Through the Whedon Cancer Foundation grant, we will work to ensure screening is performed.
Tobacco – Nelsen Middle School
Cancer Services joined forces with Renton School District’s Nelsen Middle School Physical Education and Health teachers for the third year providing education to 6th, 7th and 8th graders on the harmful effects of tobacco use.
Game of Life Youth Conference
Cancer Services debuted at the Game of Life Youth Conference in Kent this year. The Kent Police Youth Board organizes the student leadership event that draws 300 high school and middle school teens to workshops about many topics including drug and alcohol use. Valley Medical Center was honored to partner with the Kent Police Department on the No Such Thing as Safe Vaping workshop.
Improving the Overall Health of the Community
The implementation of new technology at Valley’s Breast Centers in Renton and Covington has led to a significant decrease in radiation exposure for our patients, while increasing our ability to detect invasive cancers by up to 41 percent.
Mammographic images are taken using Tomosynthesis or 3D technology. C-View software is then used to perform an analysis of the layers of breast tissue, mathematically aggregating those images into 2D images. It is no longer necessary to take images in both 2D and 3D to complete a thorough evaluation, thereby decreasing radiation exposure. Computer Aided Detection (CAD) software is then activated to assist radiologists in the interpretation of mammographic exams.
This technology is used with both screening and diagnostic mammography.
By Kirsten Warmington, Oncology Outreach Manager at Valley Medical Center